Three Former Georgia Bulldogs That Have Made it Big in the NFL

Every college football player dreams of being drafted by one of the 32 NFL franchises and forging a career in the game they love. For most, that dream remains such, but there are plenty that makes the switch to the professional game and become stars of the National Football League. A handful of those former college stars become elite-level players earning unfathomable riches; these are three of them.

The Georgia Bulldogs football team has a long history of producing talented players who go on and become superstars. Today, more than 50 former Georgia Bulldogs players are on the rosters of NFL teams, a number that will undoubtedly increase after the 2023 NFL Draft in late April. Earning an NFL contract is a significant achievement in its own right, but some former Bulldogs have gone one step further and become elite-level players.

Matthew Stafford – Quarterback

Matthew Stafford attended the University of Georgia from 2006-2008, and it was evident he would become a legitimate star. Stafford made the quarterback position his own from the minute he joined the team, and his standout performances saw him enter the 2009 NFL Draft as one of the favorites to be drafted first.

Indeed, the Detroit Lions selected Stafford as the overall number one pick and awarded him a six-year contract with $41.7 million guaranteed! Stafford became the fourth former Georgia Bulldogs player to be drafted first overall and the first since 1953.

After 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, Stafford joined the Los Angeles Rams in time for the 2021 season. Stafford was instrumental in guiding the Los Angeles Rams to Super Bowl glory, becoming the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns while going on to win the Super Bowl.

Stafford’s incredible performances saw him offered a four-year $160 million contract extension. Of course, he signed it!

A.J. Green – Wide Receiver

A.J. Green was part of the Georgia Bulldogs football team from 2008-2010, during which time he had 166 receptions for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns. Green entered the 2011 NFL Draft and was predicted to be one of the first picks. Those predictions came true when the Cincinnati Bengals selected him fourth overall, making Green the highest-drafted wide receiver in Georgia Bulldogs’ history.

Green quickly adapted to the NFL and was selected for the Pro Bowl seven times from 2011-2017. However, a flurry of injuries, including one that kept him on the sidelines for the entire 2019 campaign, marked the end of Green’s career with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Arizona Cardinals acquired Green in 2021, and while he has not matched the superb figures from earlier in his career, Green is still a force to be reckoned with on the field.

Roquan Smith – Inside Linebacker

Football fans usually talk about offensive players the most, but Roquan Smith is in the process of changing that. Born and raised in Georgia, Smith attended the University of Georgia from 2015-2017, where he gained a reputation for his tough tackling. There was so my hype surrounding Smith that he forwent his final year to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears selected Smith, the first Georgia Bulldog to win the coveted Butkus Award, eighth overall, and awarded him a four-year $18.47 million contract. Smith became a first-choice linebacker during his rookie season and made the position his own through to the midway point of the 2022 regular season. After eight games of the 2022 campaign, Smith joined the Baltimore Ravens and put pen to paper on a five-year $100 million contract, making the former Georgia Bulldog the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the NFL.

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